I knew playoff tickets were going to be expensive here in Vancouver, but I didn’t think that seats for games in the Stanley Cup Finals would be comparable to the men’s hockey games in the 2010 Olympics.
It came to my attention yesterday that tickets for the SC Finals at Rogers Arena are going for $924. Each. A seat.
That’s half my pay check, and no doubt it’s some people’s ENTIRE pay check! With the cost of living in Vancouver being as high as it is, many fans can’t afford to go to any of the games, which really sucks because this would be the time to see them play; to possibly watch the Canucks make history.
Of course, Canucks tickets are already the most expensive in the NHL during the regular season, so I expected things to get pricey, but $924? Seriously?
This just goes to show how elitist hockey is becoming in the Canadian market. Montreal, Calgary and Toronto have very high pricing for games too, so this isn’t an isolated issue. It’s a problem, really, because this means that only those with a decent amount of disposable income can afford to go to hockey games.
Canucks fans notice how the lower bowl of Rogers Arena is being packed with “suits”, clients of big corporations who are season ticket holders and hand out tickets as perks. This usually makes for a lacklustre audience down below while the more rambunctious fans pack the rafters in the upper bowl, where the seats are considerably cheaper.
Corporations own a fair share of season tickets at Rogers Arena, and season ticket holders get priority for tickets to post-season games. Is it surprising then if the majority of lower bowl crowds are uninterested businessmen fiddling with their iPhones? These people aren’t there to watch hockey. They’re there because someone gave them a free ticket to some hockey game that they should probably check out.
There have been complaints since Round 2 of the playoffs that Rogers Arena has been “too quiet” during games. I agree that some games have seemed pretty dead (most remarkably game 1 against Nashville), but apparently those in the arena say it isn’t so bad, and CBC’s audio doesn’t do justice to the noise level of the crowd.
Either way, is it really any surprise that as ticket prices go up, the crowd gets a bit tamer? I mean, think about the kind of people who can afford tickets – they’re not average fans, that’s for sure. More and more clients, celebrities and high-profile businessmen will be filling Rogers Arena because they can afford it, and I can’t see these people wearing face paint, jerseys and waving their playoff towels around.
It’s unfair, because there are a lot of fantastic, die-hard fans out there who deserve to fill Rogers Arena to the rafters and watch their favourite hockey team go for the Holy Grail of hockey. Instead hundreds of thousands of Canucks fans will be watching from home or a pub because admission’s free there, and beers definitely come cheaper there than their $8 counterparts at Rogers Arena.
There should be some kind of priority seating for die-hard fans at Rogers Arena; the rich, uninterested clients and their partners would be turned away at the door. But that’s not realistic. More and more hockey is becoming all about making money, and the only way to do that is to hike ticket prices, which means slowly but surely, fans at Rogers Arena and around Canada are being replaced by the Suits.
Why? Because the Suits can afford it, not because they really want to watch the Canucks play.
And yes, it’s an absolute shame.
I’m going to end this rant with something Jim Robson told me:
“Sports became a real release or outlet for people in tough times … There was something about sports being an escape, but the people who are suffering financially nowadays couldn’t afford to go to a game.”
And ain’t that the truth.
To every Canucks fan who’ll be watching from home or a pub, I’ll be joining you.
To all the Suits planning to go to Rogers Arena who aren’t really huge Canucks fans – I hope you feel guilty that there are a hundred thousand people who should be there instead of you.
And don’t spill your $8 beer on your $2,000 suit.